I’ve been wanting to do a post of what my health journey has been like for the longest time, and I’m finally getting around to doing it!
Overweight (70-85kg at 5’4″) for all of my teenage and adult life, family history of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease (Dad died of a heart attack when he was 49), Stroke. Diagnosed with T2DM at 26, and never restricted any food. Relied on metformin to ‘fix’ the problem. Food to me was instant noodles for dinner, nuggets, sour gummies, chips, basically junk food for children and at least 3 cans of Coke Zero a day!
Fully aware that my lifestyle was unhealthy but was never motivated enough to do anything about it.
The Turning Point and Finding My Why:
Earlier this year, my Mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. She had been overweight too since her 30s, and suffered from a lot of medical issues – stroke at 54, hypertension, T2DM.
The exact moment when the switch flipped for me was when I was sitting in the Doctor’s office with Mum and her Oncologist is explaining to her why they could not proceed with Chemotherapy because her body would not be able to cope. Poor kidneys, risk of another stroke, poor blood profile, etc. Most of the damage was done due to poorly controlled T2DM.
Her cancer was quite progressed at the time and Chemo was the only aggressive form of therapy enough to stop it from spreading further.
Instead, we had to opt for a less aggressive combination of radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Unfortunately, mum didn’t survive the cancer and she passed away 5 months after her diagnosis.
It was then that I realized that you could actually neglect your body enough to the point that even medicine couldn’t save you.
I went home and spent the night deep in reflection…I knew that I had to do something about my health. I was on the same train tracks as my mum if I didn’t change. I didn’t want to be in my 50s crippled by medical complications. I didn’t want to just rely at the mercy of medicine to save me. I didn’t realize how poor lifestyle choices manifest in the ugliest of ways when you are much older. That it catches up with you, and it comes swiftly.
I woke up the next day, 31 Jan 2020 and decided, this is it. I will change.
Over the course of the next 8 months, I went from 76kgs to 56kgs. I’ve lost 20kgs in weight steadily over the months by changing my diet completely. 70% Nutrition + 20% Exercise/Activity + 10% Recovery.
I threw myself into learning about what I could do specifically to manage T2DM and repair my insulin sensitivity. Binged on YouTube, SubReddits and lots of reading!
Started Intermittent Fasting first, then gradually went into tracking calories, then embarking on Keto.
I didn’t start working out purposefully until we went into lockdown (Malaysia). Before that, I tried to hit at least 10k steps per day, and did that probably 4 out of 7 days a week.
When we went into lockdown, I couldn’t do my usual walks, so I had to change up the routine. I started with Freeletics (a HIIT circuit training app) and then Les Mills Body Combat (through their app).
I started focusing on strength training at the Gym with a personal trainer in July, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
To be honest, I didn’t have a goal weight, as my goal was just getting my diabetes under control and getting off medication. The weight loss was a happy side effect. I learned that weight loss is not linear, and there are going to be weeks of plateaus.
I also wanted to regain the ability of having my period normally without relying on the pill (stopped taking it in Feb). 4 years ago I was so deep in depression and stress that it wrecked my body and I lost my period and haven’t been able to have a ‘normal’ cycle since then. That changed in August when I bled normally for the first time in 4 years! T___T
I went from 40% body fat to 21%, and gained some muscles along the way
My HbA1C was at 10.6% at diagnosis and as of August, is now at 5.8%. Doctor halved my metformin dosage
Cholesterol Ratio at 3.3 in August!
Monthly Average Resting Heart Rate went from 78bpm to 55bpm
Dress size went from UK16 to UK8
Shoe size went from EU38 to EU37
I don’t struggle with aches and pains anymore and I don’t need to take naps midway through the day just to get through
I am in the best shape of my life – physically and mentally. The healthier changes have impacted almost all facets of my life in positive ways. I feel like I’ve regained many years back of my life, and this lifestyle is something I can continue to do sustainably.
It really is a lot of hard work and determination, but once you find your why or reach a turning point, nothing will stop you. I think figuring out the why is so incredibly important and key to making any kind of pivots in life.
It sucks that it took Cancer to be the wake up call that I needed, and that Mum passed away, but if this didn’t happen, I would’ve continued living my life in ignorance (or rebellion as I stupidly told myself) and not taking care of myself.
With Mum’s death, she gave me life and a will to live.
Thank you everyone for your kind messages, awards, upvotes and condolences. I’ve been lurking on this reddit for a long while and was inspired to keep going reading about everyone else’s journey! Didn’t expect this post to blow up!
You guys are so awesome!